Letter: April is Child Abuse Prevention Month
The Blue Ribbon Campaign was implemented in 1989 by Bonnie Finney as a memorial for her 3-year-old grandson who was murdered by his mother’s boyfriend. She tied a ribbon on her vehicle and urged others to do the same. It has since become a symbol for child abuse prevention in the state of Virginia for the month of April.
Thousands of Virginia children suffer abuse or neglect each year. In FY 2013, there were 51,346 children reported as possible victims of abuse and/or neglect. The Virginia Department of Social Services found that 6,205 children were maltreated, and of those, 29 children died as a result of abuse/neglect. The Mathews Department of Social Services received 100 Child Protective Services referrals in 2013. Forty-six of these concerns warranted intervention.
The statistics can be overwhelming, but they are reminders that no one can afford to look the other way. Everyone can find a way to make a difference so that children reach their potential. The 2014 Virginia Child Abuse Prevention Month theme—“Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect: Look. Listen. Respond.”—promotes the need for meaningful involvements by parents, concerned individuals, communities and organizations.
The Mathews Department of Social Services would like to take this opportunity to thank our local businesses and Mathews County Public Schools for posting their blue ribbons throughout April. We would also like to thank the Mathews Community Foundation and the William F. and Catharine K. Owens Foundation for providing grants for promotional items to raise awareness.
Family Services Supervisor
Mathews Social Services